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Ewing and Muriel Kauffman
Ewing and Muriel Kauffman on the field of Royals Stadium (now known as Kauffman Stadium).

Confessions of a Major League Owner

When Ewing Kauffman established the Kansas City Royals baseball team in 1968, he told reporters, “Kansas City has been good to me and I want to show I can return the favor.” Kauffman came to the sport reluctantly, but with his wife Muriel Kauffman’s support and encouragement, he stepped up to the plate when he was convinced that the team would bring economic muscle to Kansas City. Once he committed to the idea, he poured his enthusiasm, energy, and zest for life into the ream. Writing in the team’s first souvenir program, he shared the following message with his fellow Royals fans.

Confessions of a Major League Owner

By Ewing M. Kauffman

Kansas City Royals Inaugural Yearbook
The Kansas City Royals Inaugural Yearbook cover, 1969, which featured “Confessions of a Major League Owner.” Learn more about Mr. Kauffman’s legacy in Kansas City by visiting the digital museum.

I want to admit that my purchase of a major league baseball franchise did not fulfill a life’s dream. What I mean is that baseball was not one of my over-riding ambitions in boyhood. Our people were farm folks and I was more proficient at pitching hay than pitching baseballs. I suspect that in those early years I thought a squeeze play was something that mothers warned their daughters about just before leaving on a date.

Of course I liked sports as much as the next kid who lived on the north 40. But that desire fell quite a bit short of an ambition to own a full-fledged, real live major league team. It simply never occurred that it could happen.

Let me tell you further, since we’re having a candid word, that I seem to have caused some concern among my staff people. They feel that my behavior at the ball park is not quite in line as the owner of a major league team. This attitude reached me indirectly, with no names attached. It was made clear that when baseball owners are watching the games, they DO NOT jump to their feet and cheer madly, not even when a double play wipes out a potential rally, or when one of our boys powers a slider over the centerfield wall.

The behavior of an owner, it has been suggested, is supposed to be decorous and contained. But more! An owner does not audibly vent his feelings over a bad call at first. Nor should he arrive at the ball park in time to watch the laying of foul lines. Nor does he fuss and fret at a dinner or cocktail party when his boys are alone, going through the anguish of a 1-run deficit, without his being there to suffer with them.

Well, I’m just afraid I will never be any other kind of owner. If an owner should not do all these things, I fear my case is hopeless.

I watch the fans, their fears and cheers and hopes all mixed in with what is taking place on the field, and if anyone expects me to sit there as composed as a slab of basalt, they are in for keen disappointment.

I never want it said that I react to our Royals with less spirit than the fans – and I will have to go some to keep up with the tremendous support you have given the team’s first-year efforts.

I cannot rationalize my behavior at the ball park, except that I suffer with every loss and exult with every victory – with lots of anguish in between. I guess that is what’s known as being a fan and I am pleased to be numbered among so many who never fail to cheer the team through good and bad times.

Being an owner and a fan has its advantages, of course, but please don’t ask me which has been more fun.

Actually, I have only one problem – keeping Mrs. Kauffman from out-cheering, out-jumping, and out-reacting me. You know, maybe the WIVES of baseball owners should be decorous and self-contained.

Or should they?


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